Log 9 Supplies Made in India Sorbene pads to Aid Oil Spill Clean-up in Mauritius


Over the past two-three weeks, a major oil spill off the coast of island nation Mauritius has made global headlines while sparking off fears of an ecological catastrophe in the making.

The crisis began on 25th July 2020, when a Japanese-firm owned bulk carrier vessel ‘MV Wakashio’ ran aground on a reef at Pointe d’Esny along Mauritius’ south-eastern coastal region.

In the weeks following this incident, the ship has leaked more than 1,000 tonnes of oil (as per the latest reports) into the Indian Ocean, thus raising alarm for the surrounding marine ecosystems and compelling the Mauritian Government to declare a state of ‘environmental emergency’ in the country.

 Despite ongoing efforts and operations to contain and clean-up the spill, it has been reported to extend up to an estimated area of 27 square kms already, and is threatening to harm the flora and fauna of nearby wetlands, ecologically-sensitive regions, and the centuries-old live corals of Mauritius.

Dead marine life is already being reported from the coastlines, and many dead or injured fish species, eels, or birds have been spotted on or near the sea.

Over the long term, the spill can cause a lasting damage to the country’s pristine sea beaches, and negatively impact the country’s tourism-based economy and its 1.3 million inhabitants who majorly depend on the sea for food and livelihood.

Given the serious nature of the disaster and an understanding that the authorities in Mauritius do not have enough resources, manpower or technical expertise to remove this spill, many countries are coming forward to provide assistance in order to accelerate and/or optimize the cleaning process.

India being a key development partner of Mauritius, The Indian High Commission in Mauritius and Indian Oil (Mauritius) Limited have been constantly in touch with Mauritius authorities regarding the crisis, and the Indian Government recently rushed a 10-member response team from the Indian Coast Guard along with 30 tonnes of specialized equipment (including booms, skimmers, blowers, Graphene-based oil absorbent pads, etc.) to contribute towards the clean-up operations that are underway.

Dispatched through the Indian Air Force’s C17 Globemaster aircraft, the materials and equipment along with the team of Indian Coast Guard have reached Mauritius already.

The 10,000 units of ‘Made-in-India’ Graphene oil absorbent pads called as ‘Sorbene’ pads, ordered by Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL) and carried as a part of this clean-up operation, were supplied by Mumbai-headquartered clean-tech startup Log 9 Spill Containment Pvt. Ltd.  

Speaking on the issue,  Dhananjay Sharma, CEO, Log 9 Spill Containment says, “It is a matter of great pride for us at Log 9 Spill that our products under the brand ‘Sorbene’ have been trusted by India’s largest public sector oil company Indian Oil (IOCL), and will be deployed for urgent clean-up and spill response in Mauritius. Our Graphene-based ‘Sorbene’ pads are able to absorb large volumes of oil and can be reused for up to 6-7 times so that the sorbents can provide more recovery of spilled oil. Besides, Sorbene’s absorbent pads also absorb oil up to 86 times their weight.”

He added “We are confident these pads shall prove to be instrumental in increasing the efficacy of the oil spill response team by helping them to clean up oil and petrochemicals faster and in larger volumes. Three existing variants of our Sorbene pads, namely the Ultra High Oil Absorbent Pads, High Oil Absorbent Pads, and Oil Absorbent Pads were supplied by us for the emergency operation, and thereafter have been sent to Mauritius for the clean-up operation.”

 Even though for more a year now Log 9 Spill has been supplying its products to shipping industries, dockyards, Oil & Gas companies, and chemical industries in India and across many countries of the world, this is the first that the company’s ‘Sorbene’ products are used to clean-up a major ocean disaster.

Since the moment Log 9 Spill’s team heard about the ecologically-adverse spill happening in Mauritius, they sprang into action and started contacting various agencies to provide help with their spill clean-up products.

 Once IOCL was appointed as one of the main responders in this matter by the Indian Government, Log 9 Spill approached them and received the order of 10,000 Sorbene pads; they had a readily available stock of finished products, and within a few hours time, the start-up was able to dispatch these sorbent pads to reach to the Indian Coast Guard’s team who were transporting the relief equipment to Mauritius.

 “Managing a massive ocean oil spill cleanup has to be the top priority for all involved agencies to respond to and contain spills and to device what actions can prevent them from happening in the future. Oil spills have potentially disastrous consequences for society, economically, environmentally, and socially. Spills like these destroy the marine ecosystem and leave a clean-up process that can take up to decades. Innovative technologies and products that reduce the response time and resources required are needed for a more effective cleanup process, said  Akshay Singhal, Founder & CEO, Log 9 Materials.

He further added “Products such as highly absorbent, reusable ‘Sorbene’ pads produced by us can not only reduce the number of pads required for cleanup but they also help in reducing the disposal quantities,”

During oil spill clean-ups, while sorbents help in the cleaning fine traces of oil from areas where skimmers and other equipment may not reach, popularly used sorbents in this domain have presented their disadvantages over the years.

While most Sorbents previously available in the market used to absorb and clean oil were made out of a polymer ‘Polypropylene’, Log 9 Spill came up with sorbent range made of ‘Graphene’ (an allotrope of Carbon); Sorbene pads possess high elasticity and their hydrophobic nature makes it difficult to get wet and helps in efficiently absorb spill from land, cracks or water bodies.

The company in a statement said- the ‘Sorbene’ products designed and manufactured by Log 9 Spill provides best-in-class absorbency of up to 86 times their own weight, so that each pad can absorb large amounts of oil. Once the pads are saturated with oil and recovered, the oil can be squeezed out in a container and then the pad is ready to be reused again for up to 6 cycles. This reduces the number of pads required to clean the spill and also solves the final disposal problem, as the number of pads that goes for disposal is very less and do not contain much oil when they go for incineration.

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